Every Walt Disney World resort has at least one shop where you can buy souvenirs, snacks, and basic toiletries. The resorts that include Disney Vacation Club units have slightly larger stores, with a wider variety of food items to accommodate guests who might want to make a meal in their villa kitchen. The expanded offerings include things like eggs, packaged deli meats, and frozen pizza. While the offerings at the hotels are sufficient for most vacation needs, I have a special place in my heart for the best Disney World resort gift shops, the Fort Wilderness Trading Posts.
The gift shops here are called Trading Posts. The Settlement Post is located near the boat dock, across from Pioneer Hall. The Meadow Trading Post is located in the center of the property, adjacent to the Meadow pool, tennis courts, and bike rental barn.
Fort Wilderness, located just a ten minute boat ride from the Magic Kingdom, is home to cabins and campsites. Many of the guests here stay for an extended period of time and prepare a significant percentage of their meals on site, giving them a unique set of needs.
Most of the offerings at the trading posts are similar to the items you’ll find at every other WDW store: t-shirts, plush toys, sundries like toothpaste and Tylenol, as well as food items like soda and snacks.
That’s all fine, but my fondness for the trading posts stems from the fact that they sell a selection of items that can’t be found anywhere else on Disney property. Some unique trading post items include foods to make real, healthful meals. With chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and broccoli available, you could make a dinner akin to something you’d prepare at home. That may not be your intent on vacation, but you never know what circumstances might arise.
In addition to an expanded array of food items, hoses, clamps, and tools are stocked at Fort Wilderness, which makes sense at a place that hosts lots of campers. The average vacationer is unlikely to need these, but many of the other specialty items related to camping could be useful in any number of travel situations. A tablecloth could be a used as a playmat for a baby sitting on sand or grass at any resort. WD-40 could be used to unstick a zipper on your luggage. Extension cords could help you better manage using your laptop in your room. And duct tape has infinite utility.
Of course, if you have access to a car, none of this is particularly special. Any supermarket will have a vastly superior selection of fresh foods. Or you could get these items via an Amazon or GardenGrocer.com order. But many Disney visitors have neither a vehicle nor the time to wait for a delivery.
I’ve never stayed at Fort Wilderness, but I have taken a quick boat trip there from my hotel room at the nearby Wilderness Lodge several times, just to shop at the trading posts. My oddball purchases have included an extension cord and several tomatoes, both of which were useful in fending off sibling squabbles among my kids (don’t ask).
You don’t always need a potato on vacation, but when do, it’s nice to know there’s a place to find it. Seriously.